Posts filed under ‘Food and Cooking’

FOOD NETWORK CANCELED

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
04/01/10

POPULAR FOOD NETWORK TO BE CANCELED AT MONTH’S END

New York City – The E.W. Scripps Company announced today that after 17 years in production their popular Food Network will cease programming at the end of this month. The move took many in assembly by surprise. The press conference was held at Chelsea Market on 75 9th Avenue, home of the Food Network Studios.

Milton Funderburk, Acting Assistant Vice-Chairman of Cable Programming for Scripps was asked why the media conglomerate was closing the doors on its most popular cable franchise, “The time is right. After all when we purchased TFN back in ‘97 we thought it would fail miserably. That was the plan.

“We acquired the Network as a tax right off. We never dreamed anyone would actually watch it. Our thought was why would anyone want to watch someone else cooking on TV? I mean if they wanted to see someone cook, they could just go cook something. Apparently we under estimated the American public’s desire to live vicariously.”

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April 1, 2010 at 3:05 am

We’re Moving!

This will be the final post here at WannabeTVchef.Worpress.com. Why you ask? Because there’s a new site. Hop over to WannabeTVchef.com for a look at the new digs. This blog will remain live for a while so that you can read some of the old posts.

January 16, 2010 at 8:16 pm

FDA’s Michael Taylor Promotes Himself

On Jan. 13, 2010 Michael Taylor, who was only recently hired as Food Safety Czar by President Obama, has now promoted himself to the new title Deputy Commissioner for Foods.  He created this position to head his newly created Office of Foods for the US Food & Drug Administration (FDA).

According to an FDA press release Taylor’s new mission is, “to develop and implement a prevention based strategy for food safety, plan implementation of new food safety legislation, and ensure that food labels contain clear and accurate information on nutrition.”  The web site also goes on to suggest that Taylor is a nationally recognized food safety expert.  Of course legitimate nationally recognized food safety experts point out that he is anything but.

As part of Taylor’s credentials the press release cites his previous experience in the FDA and USDA.  It also attempts to add authenticity by mentioning that he has served on several National Academy of Sciences expert committees.  What it fails to mention is that he has spent most of the past 30 years as a lawyer and lobbyist for the nefarious Monsanto Company.  It was Monsanto’s genetically modified corn process that introduced humanity to e coli.  And they used your tax dollars to do it.

So while the FDA’s web site tries to convince people that Michael Taylor is the right person to have governing their food safety, the reality is that he is likely just securing more amnesty and tax dollars for Monsanto.  That, after all, was the result of the his previous tenures in public service.

The Huffington Post has called Taylor, “The person who may be responsible for more food-related illness and death than anyone in history,” and that tends to be the consensus throughout the food safety world.  Only the future knows how many more Americans will have to die before Taylor is done.  One thing is for sure, no good will ever come of this.

January 15, 2010 at 4:29 am 2 comments

Valentine’s Day is Sex on a Plate

The following is from my good friend Jennifer Iannolo, co-founder of the Culinary Media Network®.  Jen has planned the ultimate Valentine’s Day Event this year but I’ll let her tell you more about it.  Read on:

What does your inside voice say when you taste something sublime?

Mine says this.

Youve seen me talk a lot about Sex on a Plate on Twitter and Facebook, but I think its high time we got out of the digital realm to bring the experience to life, so if youre going to be in NYC for Valentines Day, I  hope youll join me for a very special evening.

Instead of the rote table-for-two scenario, I’m inviting you to my cocktail party in the Penthouse of the Roger Smith Hotel. We’ve planned a sultry evening of tastes to evoke your senses with the kinds of aromas, textures  and flavors that will make your mouth water  and prime you for what we hope  is a most sensual evening. It doesn’t matter if you’re a single, double or threesome. Or any other combination.

Step inside my head, and see what Sex on a Plate looks like to me.

Pretty please, with a strawberry on top.

*** EVENT DETAILS***

DATE:         February 14, 2010

TIME:          6:30-10:00 PM

VENUE:      Roger Smith Hotel, Penthouse: Solarium, Lexington Avenue & 47th

EVENT TYPE: Cocktail & Tasting Party

MENU:        A series of delectable small plates and adult beverages

TICKETS:

$100 per person through January 31st

$125 per person after January 31st

Space is limited. 21 and over. Order your tickets here.

Note: Due to the nature of this tasting event, we will unfortunately not be able to accommodate food allergy restrictions. Menu may contain shellfish,
nuts or other allergens.

HOTEL SPECIAL

The Roger Smith Hotel is offering a special Take Monday Off rate on Valentines Day for this event. Please contact Brian Simpson for details on Twitter or via e-mail.

Photos: Kelly Cline

What does your inside voice say when you taste something sublime?

Mine says this.

Youve seen me talk a lot about Sex on a Plate on Twitter and Facebook, but
I think its high time we got out of the digital realm to bring the
experience to life, so if youre going to be in NYC for Valentines Day, I
hope youll join me for a very special evening.

Instead of the rote table-for-two scenario, Im inviting you to my cocktail
party in the Penthouse of the Roger Smith Hotel. Weve planned a sultry
evening of tastes to evoke your senses with the kinds of aromas, textures
and flavors that will make your mouth water  and prime you for what we hope
is a most sensual evening. It doesnt matter if youre a single, double or
threesome. Or any other combination.

Step inside my head, and see what Sex on a Plate looks like to me.

Pretty please, with a strawberry on top.

*** EVENT DETAILS***

DATE:         February 14, 2010

TIME:          6:30-10:00 PM

VENUE:      Roger Smith Hotel, Penthouse: Solarium, Lexington Avenue & 47th

EVENT TYPE: Cocktail & Tasting Party

MENU:        A series of delectable small plates and adult beverages

TICKETS:

$100 per person through January 31st

$125 per person after January 31st

Space is limited. 21 and over. Order your tickets here.

Note: Due to the nature of this tasting event, we will unfortunately not be
able to accommodate food allergy restrictions. Menu may contain shellfish,
nuts or other allergens.

  HOTEL SPECIAL

The Roger Smith Hotel is offering a special Take Monday Off rate on
Valentines Day for this event. Please contact Brian Simpson for details on
Twitter or via e-mail.

Photos: Kelly Cline

January 14, 2010 at 2:56 pm

Review: The Competent Cook by Lauren Braun Costello

Doing this blog I get to see a lot of books about cooking.  Some are great, some a bit less.  However, The Competent Cook by Lauren Braun Costello really stands out.  It will hold an honored place on my book shelf between McGee and Julia for years to come.

The author, Costello, is a veteran of the kitchen having founded Gotham Caterers in New York.  Additionally she has worked as a private chef, recipe tester (The Joy of Cooking), a food stylist (The Early Show), and a culinary instructor.  She holds a Grand Diploma in Culinary Arts with distinction from The French Culinary Institute in New York City.

Like her popular column at CDKitchen.com, also entitled The Competent Cook, Costello’s book is way more than a collection of recipes.  It is a how-to guide to setting up a functional kitchen from scratch.  Which pots and pans to get, what utensils to buy, the whole nine yards.

In fact, you won’t see the first recipe until page 108.  The early chapters are instructions on the basics – kitchen organization, essential tools and techniques for everyday cooking, baking, grilling, health conscious, et al.  There is even a chapter on how to shop and store food properly.

For you recipe-mongers there are 150 new basics all modern cooks should have in their repertoire. There are four appendices as well including a way-better-than-average glossary and measurement conversions.  The equipment materials appendix spells at the attributes and limitations of glass, cast iron, stainless and other cooking surfaces.  The section on cooking with eggs is McGee-esque with its scientific explanation of every single way to cook an egg.

The Competent Cook is perfect for the graduate just striking out on their own.  It is also a terrific house-warming gift.  And absolutely the best bridal shower present ever.  EVER!

January 13, 2010 at 1:08 am 1 comment

BBQ Styles – A Primer

Food anthropologists (yes, that is a thing) say there are certain foods where people tend to be very territorial. The style one first tries of a certain dish soon becomes the only acceptable recipe. No food demonstrates this more than barbecue. Once one learns to move beyond local prejudice, a new world of flavors emerges. To reach this heightened awareness one need only stop comparing the foreign recipe to the familiar. Only then can we learn to accept the beauty of that which is unfamiliar; it could be said that barbecue is a metaphor for culture.

Alabama plays host to three styles of BBQ. The style that most of us grew up with here along the Gulf Coast is actually an example of Kansas City barbecue – various smoked meats glazed with a tomato-based, sweet and smokey sauce. About 90% of the commercial barbecue sauces sold in grocers are variations of Kansas City sauce and it is because of this that KC style is the nation’s favorite. KC Masterpiece is the most popular sauce controlling more than half of the US market.

North Alabama is heavily influenced by the approach made famous in Memphis. This Memphis style is made up mainly of smoked pork butt or spare ribs and is distinguishable by the use of a dry rub (recipe below) rather than a wet sauce. At the same time there is a distinctive Memphis sauce that is less sweet and more acidic than KC style but is still tomato-based. The Memphis style sauce is very common at North Alabama BBQ joints like Tuscaloosa’s legendary Dreamland.

East Alabama border communities like Opelika, Auburn, and their Georgia neighbors enjoy a sauce that uses mustard as it’s base and a very specific cut of pork called a CT butt. The style is often called Smokey Pig because of the Columbus, GA shack that originated it. The mustard sauce (recipe below) most likely migrated from South Carolina and tends to be quite acidic and a touch on the spicy side. Moving from South to North Carolina the mustard disappears and the sauce is primarily vinegar and hot spices. In both Carolinas the primary meat is whole hog.

And Texas is a hole other matter. For these BBQ aficionados it is all about the smoke. The wood or combination of woods used in the smoking process is where the Texan expresses his individuality. Pork is rarely seen in the Lone Star State as Texans love their beef. The most popular cut in Texas is beef brisket because it captures the taste of smoke so well. Seldom will you ever find a bottle of sauce at an archetypal Texas smokehouse and those who dare bring their own should prepare for looks of disdain and the whispered murmurs of Yankee or city folk.

In the resorts of the Rocky Mountains classically trained chefs combine their refined European techniques with the wild flavors of the region. The result is a bold barbecue that uses grilled game like duck or venison and exotic sauces made with everything from raspberries to root beer. In Louisiana you might find a KC style sauce kicked-up with spices that add Cajun sizzle and in the Mississippi Delta they are fond of a sauce called Mississippi Blues that has blue berries as its main flavor ingredient.

Chicken seems to be universal in all regions of the country and can be augmented with a dry rub or any of the aforementioned wet sauces. Which brings us back to Alabama where we have a sauce formulated specifically for chicken. Alabama White BBQ Sauce hails from the northern half of the state and has been popularized at celebrated restaurants like Big Bob Gibson’s in Decatur. This sauce is mayonnaise-based with acidity coming from apple cider vinegar and sweetness from brown sugar; black pepper adds a little nutty heat to the finish.

Mustard Barbecue Sauce
South Carolina mustard barbecue sauce can be traced to German settlers in the 18th century.
INGREDIENTS:
4 cups yellow mustard (two 20-ounce bottles of French’s mustard should do the trick)
8 ounces of beer (less for thicker sauce, more for thinner sauce)
½ cup apple cider vinegar
8 tablespoons brown sugar
1/2 cup tomato puree
2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon cayenne
1 tablespoon fresh cracked black pepper
2 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder
PREPARATION:
Heat all ingredients in a sauce pan over medium heat and mix well. Cook until sauce just begins to thicken. Serve cool or warm. The sauce will last in the refrigerator for a long time. Quantity: 6 cups.

Memphis Rub
2 tablespoons paprika
1 tablespoon black pepper
1 tablespoon dark brown sugar
1-1/2 teaspoons salt
1-1/2 teaspoons celery salt
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon dry mustard
1 teaspoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

January 10, 2010 at 6:28 pm

Cooking the Unthinkable: Pigeon/Squab

Cooking the Unthinkable is a series that examines some of the more eccentric ingredients.  Whether you are a fan of the bizarre or are preparing for the eminent collapse of Western society this series will help you better stomach weird food.

When you announce that you intend to eat a pigeon most people will get grossed out.  That’s because pigeon doesn’t sound very good, say “squab” instead.  That’s the culinary term for pigeon and it’s origins are in Scandinavia where it meant “loose, fat flesh.”  See?  Now it doesn’t sound so gross.

Squab is one of those items that has long been associated with haute cuisine.  In fact to pronounce the word correctly you have to tilt your head so that your nose is slightly elevated so as to appear  better than everyone else.  In other words channel your inner-Louis Winthorpe III.

The flavor is similar to duck probably because they are both dark meat with a fatty skin.  It is highly prized in French cuisine as well as several Asian styles.  Squab is so tender that its texture is often described as silky making it ideal for roasting as the heat dry heat can produce a crispy skin without leaving the meat tough.

Jean-Georges Vongerichten is one of the great chefs in the country.  He is the owner of 15 of the best restaurants in America including his flag ship Jean-Georges where you will find the following dish, Squab a L’Orange.


January 8, 2010 at 10:02 pm

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Stuart Reb Donald

Stuart is a celebrity chef and award winning food writer. Donald performs live cooking demonstrations and penned the cookbook Amigeauxs - Mexican/Creole Fusion Cuisine. He hosts two Internet cooking shows "Everyday Gourmet" and "Little Grill Big Flavor."

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